Men need to give blood a try

New partnership with BT Sport and NHS Give Blood aims to target men, who are nearly half as likely to start donating blood as women.

15 November 2019

New research1 from NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) reveals today that 61% of men in the UK say they catch up to five hours of sport a week, which equates to 260 hours per year dedicated to viewing.

If just four of those hours were spent giving blood each year, each of those men could save or improve up to 12 lives in 12 months.

The research, which polled 2,000 adults, was conducted to help highlight a current imbalance between male and female donors. Last year, only 37% of new donor recruits in 2018 were male.

To help get the right balance, NHSBT wants to get 25,000 new male donors over the next five months.

Men are particularly important donors, as they make up most long-term blood donors. They are more likely to have lots of iron, so can donate more regularly than women. Men’s blood can also be more easily used for platelets, which are used to treat people in emergencies when they are bleeding a lot. Conversely, women often have breaks in donation due to pregnancy.

A fear of needles and giving blood (17%) and feeling sick and fainting (13%) were two of the most common reason cited for not donating, while men are almost as scared of giving blood (21%) as they are of sustaining an injury while playing their chosen sport (29%).

There’s also a lack of knowledge around how long it takes to donate a unit of blood; a third of male respondents (33%) believe it takes 15 minutes or more while 18% were completely unsure.

The actual donation itself usually takes around 5-10 minutes; not even the full quota of half time in a rugby game. The whole process, from arriving for your appointment to tea and biscuits, takes under an hour.

The BT Sport team show their support for blood donation by standing in front of a large Give Blood sign
The BT Sport team show their support for blood donation

BT Sport and rugby legends support blood donation

Launching the partnership - during which viewers will enjoy a range of advertising and content around blood donation over the course of six months - are rugby legends and TV pundits including Ugo Monye, Lawrence Dallaglio, Ben Kay, Martin Bayfield and Austin Healy, who will support the campaign on and off screen from November 2019 to April 2020.

Ugo Monye, sports pundit and former England and Harlequins player, said: “Currently nearly two thirds of all new donors are women. We need to encourage more men to come forward to donate.

Their donations can be used to make life-saving products from their plasma and platelets, used to save victims of burns, car crashes and treat to patients with cancer.

It need only take an hour to go to your local donor centre and save a life.”

Mike Stredder, Director of Blood Donation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said:  “We need nearly 400 new, first time blood donors every day and we need more men to donate blood. Men’s blood can more easily be used to stop bleeding from surgery or injuries.”

He added: “We want to communicate the need for more male donors on a trusted platform and with a voice that is recognised and respected, so partnering with BT Sport for their 2019/20 Rugby coverage provides us with the perfect opportunity to engage with a male audience and hopefully recruit those much-needed new donors. 

“If you are aged 17 or over, please register to donate and make an appointment to give blood and help us save lives.”


  1. Omnibus research with 2,013 nationally representative UK adults conducted by Opinium, November 2019.